Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

How should Marxists react to Bernie Sanders becoming the front-runner?

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How should Marxists react to Bernie Sanders becoming the front-runner?

How should Marxists react to Bernie Sanders becoming the front-runner?
— Read on louisproyect.org/2020/02/24/how-should-marxists-react-to-bernie-sanders-becoming-the-front-runner/

Louis Proyect looks at the Bernie Sanders phenomenon in the USA, and offers large doses of reality countering a lot of socialist hype. Putting it in local terms, the USA Democratic Party is no better than Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael – it is certainly worse.

I get email from Bernie Sanders every so often. Naturally it is soliciting a donation, which I naturally ignore. What if instead the Sanders apparatus used their database to invite people living in my neighborhood to attend a meeting to discuss how to protect undocumented workers on the Upper East Side from ICE?

Better yet, what if Sanders gets screwed by the DP bosses in a brokered convention and Joe Biden or some other piece of shit gets nominated? Wouldn’t it be about time for him to run as an independent and begin to use his money to create a staff in every major city in the USA that is committed to his democratic socialist principles? I would jump in with both feet even if I, like other leftists, have problems with his willingness to base F-35s in Vermont. As it happens, I also had big problems with Ralph Nader in 2000 but was glad to vote for him as a Green Party candidate since I believe that CLEAN BREAK with the Democratic Party is the key task facing the left.

Instead, it is likely that Sanders will endorse another Democrat if he is cheated out of the nomination. To some extent, this is just a function of an old man not having the psychological and physical reserves to face up to the brutal opposition from the liberal wing of the ruling class that Nader faced in 2004. Probably, the one thing that is not factored into the Jacobin/DSA thinking is the degree to which Sanders is an outlier. Shaped by the same political sea change that turned me into a revolutionary socialist, he decided instead to become an evolutionary socialist in the Eduard Bernstein mold.

I would even be happy to back a party based on Bernstein’s evolutionary socialism in 2020 as long as it had the same kind of class independence that the German social democracy had. Within that party, I would fight for a revolutionary perspective like Luxemburg and even Kautsky did. But within the Democratic Party, I would say “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”, the words Dante written on the walls of Hell before entering it.

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